The Council received a report on a petition seeking the Borough Council to not consider any planning applications for more than ten dwellings until the new Site Allocations Development Plan Document had been adopted. The petition had been signed by 473 individuals and was presented at the meeting. The Mayor welcomed Hugh MacDonald, representative for the petitioners.
The Petitioner spoke in support of the petition, emphasising the concern of residents that Officers could unknowingly aid developers against public opinion and recommend proposals that would otherwise be unacceptable. The petition indicated that, in event the Council could not take the action of deferring any such applications, the Council should take the decision that all applications of more than ten dwellings should be subjected to the comments, recommendations and contents of the Development Plan Document, including public opinion and the Inspector’s reports.
The report provided the advice of Counsel on the ability to defer the determination of major planning applications and noted that the legislation did not provide for Authorities to take such action, that the Council had a statutory obligation to accept all planning applications submitted, including those for more than 10 dwellings and could not lawfully decide not to consider them. The Council was also reminded that, when determining planning applications, the local planning authority gave due weight to any development plan document being produced as well as taking into account representations received on all planning applications.
Members were invited to ask questions of the petitioner before moving to the debate. Whilst Members acknowledged that applications could not be deferred until such time that the Development Plan Document had been adopted, it was felt that the second element of the petition could be supported. Councillor Forster moved and Councillor Morales seconded that:
“The Council agrees that decisions made by the Planning Committee and Planning Officers will take into account the proposed DPD and other emerging planning policies.”
Councillor Azad subsequently moved and Councillor Ashall seconded an amendment to the substantive motion that:
“The Council agrees that decisions made by the Planning Committee and Planning Officers will take into account the proposed DPD and other emerging planning policies and that the concerns of residents be sought as part of the consultation on the new Town Centre Masterplan announced by the Leader of the Council.”
In accordance with Standing Order 10.8 the names of Members voting for and against the amendment to the substantive motion were recorded.
In favour: Councillors M Ali, S Ashall, A Azad, T Aziz, D Bittleston, G Cundy, K Davis, G Elson, D Harlow, S Hussain, R Mohammed, M I Raja, C Rana, and M Whitehand.
Total in favour: 14
Against: Councillors J Bond, M Bridgeman, A Boote, G Chrystie, D Hughes and L Morales.
Total against: 6
Present not voting: The Mayor, Councillor Mrs Hunwicks, A-M Barker, W Forster, K Howard, I Johnson, R Leach, L Lyons and J Sanderson
Total present not voting: 8
The amendment to the substantive motion was therefore carried by 14 votes in favour to 6 votes against. The substantive motion, as amended, was now before the Council and, in the absence of a request for a vote, it was
That (i) the petitioner be thanked for the presentation; and
(ii) decisions made by the Planning Committee and Planning Officers will take into account the proposed DPD and other emerging planning policies and that the concerns of residents be sought as part of the consultation on the new Town Centre Masterplan announced by the Leader of the Council.